Just two months after Kenyan doctors agreed to end a painful 100-day strike, nurses are following suit with a threat to paralyse the public health system with an industrial action of their own.
Through their union, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), the care givers have threatened to go on strike next Monday if the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) they had agreed on with the government is not signed and registered in court.
Addressing the media in Nairobi today, nurses cited frustration with the State's non-implementation of the deal made with both the national and county governments last month.
“It is very unfortunate, painful but as nurses and the union, we are left with no option but to take the position we have taken today. We are going to stop any dialogue and go on strike. We want to tell the nurses to stay away from their working places come Monday," Acting KNUN secretary general Maurice Opetu said Friday.
The union says nurses nationwide will not report to work until the CBA is signed and registered in court.
“Between now and Monday, if the deal is not signed the nurses are not going to report on duty on June 5. We are going to down our tools at midnight on Sunday. They will not report on duty and that is our position,” said Mr Opetu.
The union further accused county bosses - through the Council of Governors (CoG) - of sabotaging signing and registration of the deal and taking lives of Kenyans and nurses' plight for granted by going on with their campaigns.
“The CBA has been concluded but the Council of Governors is playing games to obstruct the signing of the agreement. We had agreed that the signing of the deal would be on June 2 and until Wednesday when we went to find out how far we were, they had not forwarded even a single minute we had agreed upon to the Salaries and Revenue Commission (SRC),” said Joseph Ngwasi, the union's acting national chairman.
More to follow.